Assembling Kitchen Cabinets

As of late July 2021, we were less than a month from our planned move-in date. We had cleared our calendars to allow us to start the process of packing up our old house. We also wanted to allow some time for helping out with the build. Our initial budget discussions included some sense that we may be able to help things along, budget-wise, by swinging hammers here and there. Not as framing carpenters, but in some of the trim work. This particular weekend, it looked like I could help things along by assembling kitchen cabinets.

Cabinets Bay Cabinets

As mentioned a bit in our earlier kitchen design posts (1, 2), we liked the look of royal blue cabinets again our generally light-and-neutral color palette in the kitchen/living/dining area. Budget was the next concern – though we heard great things about Ikea cabinets in terms of quality-for-money, their limited set of options left us wanting. And though places like Semihandmade will do custom doors for Ikea carcasses, the hit to the budget was too much.

We ordered samples from Cabinets Bay and we were happy with them. They’re “ready to-assemble” (“RTA”) cabinets – think Ikea flat pack-style, with a little more assembly. They were also cheap – under $10k for the whole kitchen. Some people look down their noses at RTA cabinets, but we expect them to hold up fine.

The Assembly Process

Though Cabinets Bay has assembly instructions, they were pretty bare-bones videos. It took a combination of the videos, the diagrams in the cabinet boxes, and looking around a bit at the hardware included with the cabinets to figure out the assembly process. Assembly also required a nailgun, which I didn’t expect (but fortunately, I had a nailgun).

The cabinets were reasonably well-packed, though the top cabinet on our stack had some damage to it. This may have had more to do with the cabinets hanging around our jobsite for a while than with the actual packaging and shipping:

cabinet damage

It took me nearly an hour to assemble the first cabinet, but once I had the process down they went faster after that. The base cabinets with drawers were the most complicated to assemble – the small upper cabinets with just a pair of doors were the easiest. It was fairly methodical work once I got into it – not a bad way to spend a rainy day.

assembling kitchen cabinets

Working solo, it took me about twelve hours to finish everything. I then left the cabinet hanging to the professionals.

Unboxing Tile

Spending some time onsite also gave me a chance to unbox some of our tile. Things looked good! A couple were a bit different from what we expected from the online photos, but we were happy with things across the board.